WASHINGTON – The International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) NextGen Leadership Program chose the 30 people who will comprise its fifth cohort.

IDFA created the year-long program as part of its people strategy, designing it to support and make ready mid- to senior-level dairy professionals about to take another step with their career growth.

Considered emerging leaders by veterans within the US dairy industry who nominated them for the IDFA program, participants were chosen based on experience and scope of responsibility. Members of the cohort meet on a regular basis – both in person and virtually – and learn about various ins and outs of the industry, including advocacy, education and networking.

“IDFA and dairy business leaders have made it a priority to develop future leaders for our industry who can effectively inspire the workforce of the future, advocate for sound policy and lead with integrity,” said Michael Dykes, president and chief executive officer for IDFA. “That’s why I’m so proud to welcome this NextGen Leadership Program cohort — some of the best and brightest men and women rising through the ranks of our industry. IDFA’s NextGen Leadership Program will prepare them lead our industry into a new era.”

Colin Newman, IDFA’s chief of staff, described the caliber of candidates chosen for the fifth cohort as “exceptional,” adding, “we are confident they will all make valuable and positive contributions to this year’s program.”

Members of the 2023-23 NextGen Leadership Program are:

• Panna Agrawal, vice president, operations; Saputo USA

• Brianne Alair, financial controller, Idaho Milk Products, Inc.

• Joshua Bryant, senior director, compliance; Sargento Foods Inc.

• Jeff Carney, corporate controller, Hilmar

• Nicole Davies, senior manager, data and automation technologies; Grande Cheese Company

• Ryan Dykstra, processing customer manager, cheese and whey; Tetra Pak Inc.

• Brian Fiscalini, CEO, Fiscalini Farmstead

• Ernesto Franco, director of logistics, Shehadey Family Foods

• Rick Gessler, vice president of engineering, Delkor Systems

• Stephanie Gigante, vice president of retail sales, Shamrock Farms

• Calvin Gregorich, vice president, ingredients division; Grassland Dairy Products Inc.

• Laura Hill, dairy supply optimization leader, The Kroger Co.

• Dino Holmquist, vice president of business development, Eurofins DQCI

• Sudeep Jain, director of quality, Michigan Milk Producers Association

• Duncan Jochimsen, director of dairy procurement, Milk Specialties Global

• Justin Laabs, senior product development manager, Tillamook County Creamery Association

• Michael Lehmann, vice president of sales, Winona Foods

• Casey Liddicoat, senior director of manufacturing operations, Masters Gallery Foods, Inc.

• Kimberlee Malin, innovation manager, Wells Enterprises, Inc.

• Doug Martin, general counsel and vice president of compliance, Blue Bell Creameries

• Ryan McDonnell, senior director, quality and food safety; Foremost Farms USA

• Becky Pearson, vice president, NA cheese sales; Glanbia Nutritionals, Inc

• Cody Renard, director, industrial sales & key accounts; Agropur

• Leroy Schneider, director of distribution; Crystal Creamery Inc.

• Cheslie Stehouwer, director of sales & marketing, Continental Dairy Facilities, LLC

• Steve Turner, director, marketing & customer service; Turner Dairy Farms, Inc.

• Matt Vanic, cheese plant manager, MWC

• Annie Waring, director of business development, Americold Logistics

• Beth Wells, vice president of quality, CROPP Cooperative/Organic Valley

• Renee Yahnke, sourcing director, Schreiber Foods Inc.